After a tense week of discussions about the introduction of a carbon tax, the connection between politics and environmental issues is stronger than ever.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is supporting the Australian born ‘Earth Hour’ tying in the looming Carbon Tax with the annual environmental initiative.
“I believe 2011 is the year Australia will choose action,” she said in Parliament House last week. “Everyone taking part in Earth Hour this year is helping make sure this is so.”
Despite strong criticism the government has pushed for the support of Earth Hour and the Carbon Tax, pledging they will go beyond the hour to ensure a price will be put on carbon.
“The simple and powerful idea of switching off lights for an hour to drive action on climate change began in Sydney and has been embraced around the world. Earth Hour is a wonderful example of Australian creativity and confidence at its best,” said the Prime Minister.
Earth hour this year has reached record participation with 131 countries and millions of people across the world taking part in the unique event.
The World Wildlife Foundation are organising ‘Earth Hour’ in the hope that this year’s message will extend beyond the hour encouraging long lasting change in the world’s environmental practices.
Earth Hour Co-Founder and Executive Director, Andy Ridley has welcomed the Prime Minister’s statements saying, “Now, as we put the emphasis on going beyond the hour, the commitments we are receiving from national and community leaders are becoming especially significant.”
As Earth Hour enters it’s fifth year the Prime Minster has praised the Australian response to the event saying the hour has become a symbol of determination where every Australian can make a difference.
Words by: MEG COLLINS
Photos by SAM WILLIS
Video by JOSH BUTLER